几个月前我进入一个常去的论坛，并看到一个复古游戏的铁杆粉丝在谈论玩《Time Pilot:Pacifist》的体验。这并不是一款新游戏，相反地，它与早前的游戏拥有不同的游戏玩法。在他所接触的《Time Pilot》版本中，他可以不需要开枪而是将所有时间都投入在第一个关卡中，并收集掉落的降落伞。因为我们也玩过这款游戏，所以我将对此谈话做出回应。我们都曾围绕着一款旧游戏而创造出全新的游戏，并且我们从不需要为此编写代码。
基于一款玩具创造游戏：“Etch A sketch”自动赛车游戏
我还记得自己“编辑”过的第一款游戏是基于“Etch A sketch”（游戏邦注：由一支笔和一个画板所构成的儿童玩具）。很早之前我曾经写过一篇有关这一玩具的文章，名为《Atari Nerd Chronicles: Garage Games Literally》，以下是我在文章中所提到的：
转向硬核游戏：《Defender Holy Sh*T Space Mode》
当提及游戏难度时，最近又出现了一些游戏玩家类型，也就是面向于硬核游戏的玩家。硬核游戏总是设定在一些艰难的环境中，玩家不能重新装载游戏，或者说通常只拥有一条生命。我非常钦佩现代游戏中的这种“规则变动”，并且我也可以很自豪地说我首次接触的这类型游戏便是《Defender Holy Sh*T Space Mode》。
1982年在街机上玩游戏其实就像是在进行资源管理。如果妈妈让我们独自待一会而去忙自己的事，这时候当然不能选择过长的游戏（反而让妈妈等着）。所以我们便需要在现有的游戏中创造一些较短的挑战，以此满足这种短暂的时间。就像我和兄弟便经常玩双人防卫游戏《Defender : Holy Sh*t! Space Mode》。
Mattel Intellivison是早前一种较为粗糙的游戏系统。这里的游戏行动速度都非常缓慢，说好听点就是其控制器较为奇特，说难听点也就是十分笨拙。然而Intellivision有一点是Atari 2600所比不上的，也就是位图图像。Atari游戏设计师需要使用TV电子枪扫描线进行编程（游戏邦注：这也是我们为什么不能将2600直接接在现代电视上的一大原因），而Intellvision的程序员却拥有大量可滚动的位图资源。没有哪一款游戏比《Auto Racing》更能体现出这种能力。
童年时期，我和兄弟都很喜欢棒球。我们可以按顺序列出Dodgers和Angels队的阵容，并且会观看电视上播出的任何一场比赛。我们加入了“少年棒球联合会”，收集各种棒球卡片，并购买了《Big League Chew》，可以说这是那时的我们最大的乐趣所在。
我们所接触的第一款计算机电子游戏便是《Microleague Baseball》。这并不是一款行动类游戏，而是棒球模拟游戏，玩家将在游戏中扮演经理的角色。游戏所强调的是棒球历史上的一些出色的球队，但也包含了一些虚拟的团队，如America League All-Stars，并突出了20世纪最杰出的棒球选手。
游戏的一大乐趣便是控制像America League All-Stars等团队去对抗最新的团队（那个时期），如1981 Dodgers。我们也从中发现了一些有趣的元素。即在American League All-Stars彻底击败了对手后，游戏便算结束了，并且与往常一样游戏将询问玩家是否愿意“编译统计数据”。“编译统计数据”便意味着将当前的游戏数据添加到新的团队上。我们照做了，之后游戏将会再次询问这一问题，我们也将反复进行编译。也就是游戏中将一再出现相同的统计数据。
Atari ST上的《TOS Icon Football》
1987年，当我购买了Atari 520 ST计算机后发现磁盘驱动器竟然是坏的。但是我却必须在4个月后才能换货。这期间我们想出了一款名为《TOS Icon Football》的游戏。这是一款基于TOS台式机游戏。玩家将移动图标，并努力保护垃圾桶。而其他玩家也将轮流移动图标去偷取这些垃圾桶。实际上，游戏一点意义都没有，我甚至记不清其中的规则。我们只是像在等待磁盘驱动器到来前在这价值700美元的设备上找些事做。最让我懊悔的便是卖掉Atari 800以及所有磁盘（包括所有BASIC游戏以及我所编写的程序）去换取这个只能呈现出一片绿色画面的褐色盒子！
不久之后，Atari ST的鼠标也坏了，我们便拿到Atari ST进行维修。9个月后，为了重新要回这一设备（不管修好了没），我们既打电话给了马华消费人事务局也打给了Federated Group的经理，最终才从他们手中拿回了设备的控制权。
的确，在80年代拥有Atari ST需要极大的耐性。有许多非常优秀的游戏（如《地下城主》，《Lost Dutchman Mine》和《Kickoff》）都遇到过这一问题。我们也是在事后才意识到应该购买Amiga（游戏邦注：Amiga公司开发的个人电脑产品系列）。
在成长过程中我和兄弟玩过许多足球类电子游戏。有些游戏具有很棒的特效，但是却呈现出非常糟糕的足球元素（如Atari 2600上的《Pele’s Soccer》），也有一些从未被超过的好游戏（如Atari S头上的《Anco Player-Manager》）。最优秀的游戏则能够让玩家使用各种各样的方法进球。而有些游戏在这点上则具有特定的设置，即只要玩家踢腿射球，必定能够直通球门（不管球场上会出现何种情况）。Atari ST上的《Microprose Soccer》和Sega Genesis上的《FIFA’94》便是非常典型的例子。比起因为一些小缺陷便放弃游戏，我们选择基于这些毛病去创造属于自己的比赛：《Goal Storm！》。
《Goal Storm！》的目标是看谁能最长时间地玩游戏并踢进更多球，并且不会为此感到厌烦。《MicroProse Soccer》和《FIFA’94》中的某些功能都能够实现这一点。首先玩家将选择最长的游戏时间。虽然这两款游戏都不是基于实时模式（完整的90分钟），但整体游戏时间也接近这一值了。玩家将选择游戏中最优秀的团队（通常都是巴西或德国队），并与一只相对糟糕的团队（通常都是阿曼，日本或美国队）进行对抗。这是在美国或日本展现出真正实力前所做出的选择。随后玩家便可以努力射门了！
《Command And Conquer》的“战争墙”
在PC上攻克了《Dune II》后，我便超级期待Westwood的《Command And Conquer》的发行。但是当游戏最终发行时，我又发现它比想象中复杂得多。尽管其中包含了许多与《Dune II》相同的理念，但是某些单位功率和组合却让我通过《Dune II》所掌握的策略和战术变得毫无用处。
直到我发现了墙壁。很显然，这就是游戏中的漏洞，但是我也是在之后才意识到这一点。在第一个版本的《Command And Conquer》中，“墙壁”也就是你的基地的一部分，不管它离建筑物有多远。同时，敌人单位通常都不会射击你的墙壁。当我发现这一点时，我在每个关卡中都会使用相同的策略。
首先我将派遣侦察兵去明确敌人的基地。然后我将以基地为起点创建一堵很长很长的墙壁，直通敌人的基地，并将其环绕起来。如此，敌人便只能待在自己的基地中，而他们的收割机也不能再回到基地里。紧接着我也将在敌人基地周围创建高塔，并在敌人创建单位时快速摧毁它。最后我将派出坦克彻底毁掉他们的建筑。如此一款半复杂的策略游戏也就变成了一件非常容易完成的任务。不幸的是在游戏的后续版本中，这些缺陷都得到了修复。但是对我来说即时策略游戏并不能带给我像《Command And Conquer》中的“战争墙”所具有的满足感。
Emergent Game Play In Classic Games
by Steve Fulton
A few months ago on one of the forums I frequent, a fellow retro game fan (rimbo) talked about playing “Time Pilot:Pacifist”. This was not a new game, but rather, a different way of playing an old game. In his version of Time Pilot, he chose to never fire a shot, and instead spend all of his time on level one, picking-up the little parachute guys. I instantly replied to the conversation because I have played this game too. We both had created a new game out of an old one, and we never had to write a single line of code to do it.
This conversation sparked some thoughts in my mind about other games that I have played in the past in ways that were probably never intended by the designers. Unlike moderns games like Minecraft, this “emergent” game play was not designed as part of the game, but came about because of bugs, and/or alternate ways to play based on the released game. None of these were hacks. While I also spent a lot of time using sector editors and cheat programs to edit the values in games and change the difficulty, those efforts always left me cold, like I had suddenly taken the fun out of the game by cheating. These were not “mods” either. The things I’m talking about were ways to leverage the existing games (glitches and all) to make the intended experience into something else entirely. All of them were memorable in their own special way.
Creating A Game Out Of A Toy: Etch A Sketch Auto Racing
The first game I recall “editing” was the Etch A sketch toy. Wrote about this a long time ago on this site in a post named “Atari Nerd Chronicles: Garage Games Literally”, and here is what I said:
“By using scotch tape and the lap timer on a digital watch, we created our own racing games using this seminal drawing toy. First, one of us would spend the time to lay-down an elaborate track using scotch tape over the Etch-A-Sketch screen. When that was finished, the other one of us would attempt to ‘race’ (draw a line through the track) as fast as possible without hitting any of the scotch tape lines as he was timed by the digital watch. It worked fairly well, as long as the players were honest about not hitting the barriers. ”
Imagining A Different Game Entirely: Marauder Star Wars
The first video game I recall “editing” was Tiger games’ Marauder. This was more of a “mental” edit, than anything else, as it was less a different way to play the same game, than it was a different mental state in which to play the same game.
Marauder was the first Atari 2600 game I ever bought that I hated. It was a game a bit like Berzerk, but from an overhead perspective (kind of). The graphics were designed to look like little people walking and firing guns, but instead, they looked more like grotesque purple triangles shooting square eggplants. Your own character was seen from the side (I think), which made the whole thing even more bizarre.
Since I had paid $24.99 of birthday money (in 1983 dollars,$56.62 in 2012 dollars based on inflation ) for the game, I was really pissed off. It was one of the first games I bought that I hated, but I still played it…because I bought it. However, every time I stuck the cartridge into the 2600, it was not Marauder any longer, instead it became : Star Wars Death Star Battle. I imagined that the game was set on the Death Star, and all the little purple triangles were Storm Troopers. My job was to shoot as many as possible. The items to collect in the game became stolen plans for the ultimate battle station. Sure, it really didn’t make the game any better, but it was a quick way to fill the $24.99 hole left in my heart by the disappointment.
Going Hardcore : Defender : Holy Sh*t! Space Mode
These days, there is a whole sub-genre of game players that go hardcore when it comes to difficulty. They play on the hardest settings, make rules that you can’t reload, or you only get one life. While I admire these kinds of “rule modifications” in modern games, I can proudly say that I participated in one of the very first versions of this: Defender Holy Sh*T Space Mode.
Defender, along with Tempest, Star Gate and Robotron, were some of the first hardcore video games. The difficulty level was set very high, the controls were complicated, and the action was blazingly fast. If the regular mode of Defender was not hard enough, when you managed to kill off all the humans you were supposed to save, the game thrust you into what we called “space mode”. In this mode, the landscape went away, and the game threw as many aliens at you as possible. It was insane, and usually going into “space mode” meant your game was over.
However, playing games in the arcade in 1982 was an exercise in resource management. If my mom had dropped us off for a couple hours, and it was nearing the time for us to be picked up, we could not get into any game that might last too long ad have her waiting outside. Because of this, we had to create short challenges out of existing games to fill in the remaining time. Sometimes, (usually with our last tokens) my brother and I would start a 2 player game of defender named Defender : Holy Sh*t! Space Mode.
We played this game by killing off all our humans as quickly as possible to get in to “space mode” and then tried to see who could stay alive for the longest amount of time. The game was less about points than play time. If we could make the game last just until my mom came to pick us up, it was a success. Of course, playing the game this way was insanely difficult, but it was like icing on the cake: a final thrill to top off a great day playing video games at the arcade.
Exploring The Landscape: Intellivision Auto Racing Offroad
The Mattel Intellivison was an odd beast of a game system. The games always seemed to play in slow-motion, the controllers were bizarre at best, awkward at worst. However, one advantage the Intellivision had over the Atari 2600 was bit-mapped graphics. While Atari game designers had to program by TV electron-gun scan-line (which is also one of the reasons you can’t hook a 2600 directly up to a modern TV), Intellvision programmers had the luxury of laying out giant scrollable, bit-mapped worlds. No game displayed this ability more than Auto Racing. (on a side note, it’s odd that this game was not Hot Wheels branded because Mattel owned that brand, but I digress).
Auto Racing was a very cool, scrolling racing game, but the best part of the game was that you did not have to stay on the roads at all. There were gaps between the trees and buildings big enough for your car. It was enticing, and enjoyable, to simply take-off road and explore the world on your own. You could not win the race this way, but it did not matter. For the first time playing any racing game, it seemed more fun to drive through backyards and groves of trees than staying on the track. It always appeared that we would discover something really cool and secret if we just kept going off the track. While we never did find anything out of the ordinary while going off road, it wasn’t from a lack of trying.
Data Manipulation : Microleague Baseball Superhuman Stats
When we were kids, my brother and I loved baseball. We could list the starting line-ups for both the Dodgers and Angels in order by first and last name, and we watched every game that was on TV. We played in Little League, and collected baseball cards, and consumed Big League Chew” like it was the coolest thing around.
One of the first computer video games we devoured was Microleague Baseball . This was not an action game but a stats based baseball simulation where you played the manager. The game featured dozens of teams from the history of baseball, including teams that could have never existed like the America League All-Stars featuring great players from most of the 20th century.
One of the joys of the game was playing a team like The American League All-Stars against a relatively recent team (at the time) like the 1981 Dodgers. In fact, it was during one of these games that we noticed something interesting. After the American League All-Stars clobbered their opponent in shut-out by a 25 or so run margin, the game ended and, like always, it asked if we wanted to “compile the stats” for the game. “Compiling The Stats” for a game meant the stats for the current game would be added to a new team. We did this, and then the game asked if we wanted to compile them again. So we did, and again. The same stats over and over again.
Soon, we had a team with a pitcher that had won dozens of shut-out games, and players who had dozens of hits, RBI and home runs, all based on that one game. Sure, some players compiled crappy stats, but most became inhumanly good at baseball.
Next we took that same team, and played it against the same, sad opponent. I believe the first inning took almost 2 hours. In fact we had to put the game in “fast play” mode and let it play out itself to get to the ending. That game ended with a score of about 102-2. Of course, we compiled that one multiple times, and continued. The result were bizarrely out of whack baseball teams. Some players hit home runs at every a bat, while other could not hit the ball at all. If a player had made an error in a game that was recompiled many times, all of sudden he became a total clown on the baseball field, missing everything that came to him. It didn’t make the game any better, but it was a fun time while it lasted. It also showed that basing a game like baseball, completely on stats, can have some serious drawbacks.
Atari ST TOS Icon Football
Right after we bought our Atari 520 ST computer in 1987, the disk drive failed. I mean right after, like the same day. However, since we had bought it out of the trunk of a guy’s car (the same guy who would one-day open the store Computer Games Plus in Orange California), we really could not return it right away. In fact, it took about 4 weeks to get a replacement. In the mean time, We came up with sad game named TOS Icon Football. The game was played on the TOS desktop. One player would move the icons around, trying to protect the trash can (the ball). The other player would take their turn making moves to try to steal the trash can. In reality, the game made no sense at all, and I can’t even remember the rules. We just needed to find something to do with our $700 door stop while we waited for a disk drive to arrive. The main thing I remember is the remorse I felt after selling my Atari 800, and all our disks (including all the BASIC games and programs we had written–what the hell were we thinking?) to help pay for, what amounted to, an expensive tan box that displayed a green field of nothing.
By the way, the mouse failed on the Atari ST not too long afterward, and we took it to Federated Group (Atari had bought the chain) to try to get it fixed. 9 months later, after multiple attempts to get it back, fixed or not, a call from the Bureau Of Consumer Affairs to the manager of the Federated Group was the only way they would release their steely grip on the device.
Yeah, owning an Atari ST in the 80′s took a lot of patience. There were some great games (Dungeon Master, Lost Dutchman Mine, Kickoff) that clouded the issue. However, it was only in hindsight that we realize we should have bought an Amiga.
Glitches That Makes Games More Competetive: Micropose Soccer/FIFA ’94 Goal Storm
My brother and I played a lot of soccer video games while growing up. Some of those games had great special effects, but played terrible soccer (i.e Pele’s Soccer for Atari 260), while others have never been outdone (Anco Player-Manager for Atari ST). The best games were the ones that allowed for an almost unlimited array of ways to score goals. However, some games had particular areas that, when the ball was shot by a player, a goal would be scored no matter what else was happening on the field. Two such games were Microprose Soccer for the Atari ST, and FIFA ’94 for the Sega Genesis. However, instead of dismissing the games outright for being glitchy, we instead created our own contest from their relative shortcomings: Goal Storm!
The object Goal Storm! was to see who could score as many goals as possible in the longest game, without giving up out of boredom. Both MicroProse Soccer and FIFA ’94 had similar features that made this game possible. First, you would select the longest play time possible. Neither game played in real-time (90 full minutes) but you could get very close. Then you would select to play the best team in the game (usually Brazil or Germany) and play against the a terrible team (usually Oman, Japan, or the USA). This was before the USA or Japan were recognized as playing a decent game and that was reflected in these games. Then, it was time to score as many goals as possible.
In FIFA ’94 the key was to get the ball to just outside the 18-yard box a bit right of center, and make a lob shot into the goal. In Microprose Soccer, you needed to sprint down the right-side of the field, just to the right inside of the goal box, and make an angle shot. Since you scored EVERY TIME (as far I can recall anyway) with these methods, your goal was to steal the ball as quickly as possible from the other team, sprint to the box and shoot. I don’t believe either my brother or I ever finished the longest games, but the shorter ones were great fun. In an alternate version of this game, we would play as the disrespected USA team, and use the goal storm methods to trounce the best teams in the world.
Command And Conquer Wall Wars
After devouring Dune II on the PC, I could not wait for the release of Westwood’s Command And Conquer. However, when it was released I realized that the game was much harder than I anticipated. While it used a lot of the same ideas as Dune II, some of the unit powers and combos made my (albeit very basic) strategies and tactics learned from Dune II fairly toothless.
That was, until I discovered walls. Apparently, this was a bug, but I did not know it until much later. In the first version of Command And Conquer “walls” counted part of your base, no matter how far you built them one of your buildings. At the same time, enemy units, more often than not, would not try shoot at your walls. When I found this out, my strategy became the same on every level.
First, I’d send out scouts to locate the enemy base. Next, I would build a long wall from my base, all the way to the enemy base, and surround it. The enemy units were now trapped in their base, and their harvesters could not return. I would then build towers around the enemy base that would shoot at their units as soon as they were created. Lastly, I’d send up my tanks to finish off the buildings. It turned a semi-complex strategy game into a game of shooting fish in barrel. Unfortunately for me, In later versions of the game, this glitch was fixed. After that, RTS games were ruined for me, as they never gave the intense satisfaction of a game of Command And Conquer Wall Wars.
I’m sure there were tons of other classic games that allowed for this type of emergent game play, but these are the ones I still hold dear to this day. The fact that I still remember these things tells me that emergent play is a great way to make games memorable, even if you can’t control exactly how those memories are made.(source:gamasutra)